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Breach of Express or Implied Warranty

Engel Professional Association Feb. 21, 2023

As a business owner, you pour your heart and soul into your company and your customer base. You know the meaning of hard work and dedication, but you also know that running a business isn’t without its challenges. Many of these challenges you can handle on your own, while others may require you to turn to a commercial litigation attorney. This is especially true if you’re facing a lawsuit by a customer regarding a breach of warranty, whether it’s an express warranty or implied warranty.  

If you’re in Minneapolis, St. Paul, or anywhere across Minnesota, including Mankato, Maple Grove, St. Cloud, or Woodbury, call our team at Engel Professional Association to schedule a consultation. 

Types of Warranties  

There are two main types of warranties that businesses and companies may choose to offer their customers when they purchase their products or services: express and implied.  

An express warranty is one that’s either in writing or communicated verbally to the customer. This could be about a guarantee you make about the product or service, how long it will last, what it will accomplish, or services you’ve committed to doing for them. Both written and oral express warranties are legally binding. 

An implied warranty is not explicitly stated; rather, it’s generally assumed to be true by both the buyer and the seller. For example: an electric kettle should heat up water, a leaf blower should blow leaves, and a tax servicer should file your taxes. Like an express warranty, an implied warranty is also legally binding.  

What Constitutes a Breach?  

A breach of warranty occurs when the product fails to meet the standards in the express or implied warranty. A customer may contact you or the manufacturer about this beach in an attempt to resolve it. To have standing, the customer must prove three things: one, that the warranty existed; two, that the defect substantially affects the performance of the product; and three, that the defect wasn’t caused by the user.   

In many cases, this can be handled by the business owner, but if you feel your services or products haven’t breached a warranty and you’re now facing a lawsuit by your customer, you need to protect yourself by hiring a business litigation attorney.   

Possible Defenses  

When you start working with your attorney, they’ll first ask you to explain your side of the story and include all pertinent evidence, including sales receipts, communications with the customer, product descriptions, company manuals, and copies of any relevant warranties for the product or service in question.  

In general, your defense will center around discrediting one of the three requirements listed above. For instance, your lawyer may help you present a case that there actually was no warranty issued to the customer for the product and they, therefore, have no standing to file a claim.  

Or, they may argue that even if there is something wrong with the product, it doesn’t count as a breach of warranty because the defect is insubstantial and the product still works as it should. Lastly, you may be able to prove that even if the product doesn’t work as it should, this is due to the customer's misuse or treatment of it, not the product itself. 

Work With a Skilled Business Litigation Attorney 

The integrity of your business is the most important thing to protect in situations like this. Yes, you want to honor and respect your customers, but you also need to defend yourself and your business practices when you’ve been unfairly accused of something. For help with this or any business litigation matter, reach out to us at Engel Professional Association in Minneapolis, Minnesota.